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monicabhide.com / dr.com Dinner @ Passage to India


hillvalley
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I am excited to announce that in partnership with

Monica Bhide our next event will be at Passage to India on Sunday, May 7th.

The cost, with tax-and-tip, but without beverages, will be $65. To quote Monica, "There is soo much food on his menu for this event that 65 will be a real deal!!" We have room for 60 people. If you would like to join us please send me a PM with your screen name, and if you would like one or two seats in the title of the PM as well as the text part.

You can read more about Passage to India here. Somewhere on eGullet there is a fantastic thread about a similar dinner that Monica organized at Passage to India two years ago. It still comes up in conversation. Would someone find it and post a link, I can't find it <_< Thanks!

This dinner has been in the planning stages for months and I am thrilled to finally share more details with you. I hope you will enjoy this edible excursion to India with two experts in the field.

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Thanks Hillvalley! Chef has shared with me an amazing menu of regional Indian specialities. The theme for this dinner will be regional Indian delicacies - including some great vegetarian choices. I am excited and honored to be part of this event and look forward to seeing you all there!

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I just had a peak at the tentative menu and it looks fabulous. For those who are not that adventurous, or are vegetarians, you have nothing to worry about. You will find a lot of enjoy throughout the meal.

I would like to try something different in the reservation area this time. When you PM me would you please title your pm using the following model: PTI-screen name-+1 (if you would like to bring a guest).

For example, the title of my PM would read PTI-hillvalley-+1

In the text of your email I need your real name and the same info you put into your title.

Thanks!

If this works it will save me a lot of time when counting how many spots are requested! If you want a detailed version of why let me know. It's not worth boring everyone else with <_<

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We are aware of the Sopranos/Iron Chef-I have to get home by 9-conflict <_<

That's what Tivo is for - welcome to the 21st century.

Besides, even if Tony isn't a fan of Indian food after that "Vindaloo incident" in season 1, I'd place a wager with Paulie that the food at Passage to India will be worth any delay in catching that week's episode.

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FINAL PRICE -- $65 per person (includes taxes and tip; does not include drinks)

Menu (chef reserves the right to make some minor changes)

Monica Bhide/ DR.COM DINNER MAY 7th, 2006

NORTH

Chicken Kabab-3 ways (tandoor grilled chicken in three different marinades)

Shalgam Goat Curry (goat curry cooked with turnips and turnip greens)

Paneer Simla Mirchi (low-fat pressed Indian cheese with bell peppers)

Pulao/ Kulcha (rice pilaf and freshly baked onion breads)

Garlic-Chili chutney; Onion-Yogurt chutney

WEST

Patrani Machhi (cilantro marinated fish filet, wrapped in banana leaf & baked)

Murgi Dhansak (ceremonial Parsi specialty- chicken, vegetable and lentil stew)

DhansakRice (star anise and stone flower flavored rice pilaf)

Aloo Hara Pyaaz (red bliss potatoes with scallion greens)

Mango chutney; Peanut/Sesame chutney

EAST

Shorshe Bata Maachh (fish filet simmered in freshly ground mustard)

Kosha Mangsho (lamb cooked with cumin, coriander and cardamom)

Chorchori Torkari (medley of vegetables with Bengali 5 spice tempering)

Steamed Basmati (long grain fluffy rice)

Tomato chutney; Date chutney

SOUTH

Kunjhe Varuval (shrimp sautéed with roasted spices and coconut flakes)

Kozhi Ishtoo (British influenced south Indian chicken stew)

Payar Thoran (stir fry beans with curry leaf and mustard seeds)

Kachil Kalan (yam and chic peas in a seasoned yogurt sauce)

Sambar (toor dal ‘pigeon peas’ and eggplant cooked with tamarind & asafetida)

Upma (a savory semolina staple of the south)

Idiappam (steamed rice and lentil string-hoppers)

Okra Pachadi (crisp fried okra in a yogurt dressing)

Ginger-Tamarind chutney, Milagapodi; Appalam

I am getting hungry just writing this post!

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There are still a few spots left if you would like to join us. PLease PM me and I will add you to the list. It looks like we won't have to go to lottery so don't worry about having to take your chances.

Also, due to a unfortunate coffee/fist fight incident I have limited access to a computer so I am extending the deadline until 5pm tomorrow. Do not worry if it takes until Saturday for you to hear from me as long as you send a PM.

Happy Thursday!.

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I am so upset that I will not be able to attend. <_<

I hate when people's weddings interfere with my food plans.

There should not be any open spaces for this. It may seem like a lot of money for those of us used to topping out at $20 per person at most Indian restaurants, but having attended the Street Food event, believe me when I say that you will more than get your money's worth.

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Below is the list I have so far. There is room for 6 more people.

I will be out of town for the next week so please do not be alarmed when you do not hear from me. There are no internet connections where I am going. (That's part of the reason why I am going there <_< ) If there is a mistake in the list please PM me and I will fix it when I get back.

You will receive a PM from me letting you know what the next steps are but probably not until next weekend. Until then sit back and dream of the dinner that awaits.

zoramargolis +1

mdt +1

hannah +1

raisab +2

tweaked

porcupine +1

catherine +1

scotteeM +1

jlk +1

MeMc +1

demvtr +1

jacques gastreaux +1

cucas87

rvanrens +1

bilrus +1

rahdc +1

billy delion +1

crackers +1

moodandfoodmaven +1

reverrbrad +1

ustreetguy

meaghan

clayrae +1

marrava

josephgrossberg +1

ncpindc

sacha +1

Edited by hillvalley
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I'm back from the land of no connection to the outside world.  It's going to take me a day or two to readjust but I hope to have the PayPal PM sent out by Sunday night.

Grover and I are disappointed that we got back to late to participate in this dinner. Someone please post afterwards and tell us about it (so we can hate you :) ) (actually, just kidding but please do post about it)
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I sent out a PM with my email address to those of you who have not attended an event before or if I wanted to confirm your paypal email. PLEASE send me an email from your email account attached to your paypal account ASAP :)

If you did not receive a PM from me and have not attended an event before please shoot me a PM or email. If you didn't hear from me I already have your paypal email and you are all set for now.

The paypals should go out by Wednesday, if not sooner.

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A big WELCOME to all the DR.Com folks who have registered for the May 7th Dinner at Passage to India in Bethesda. I am sure you all will enjoy the Fun-N-Food

time at my restaurant.

If there are any who have Allergies/ food intolerance/ or dietary restrictions please feel free to PM or email me and we will try to offer you alternates. I cannot promise that all requests will be met but we will surely give it our best shot.

Looking forward to a fun filled UH food filled evening.

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I've updated the list above to add in all the recent payments I have received. Thanks so much for taking care of that. For those of you who have not yet paid, please do so asap. The sooner you pay the sooner I can stop being a nudge :) Your deadline is Thursday at 5. After that the people on the waiting list will become very happy.

If you think you have paid and your name isn't on the list please let me know via email. I have had a couple of people who thought they had paid but for some reason the money didn't make it to my account.

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Arriving at the start time, or maybe a few minutes early, is a good idea. I'll leave it up to Chef to give you a better idea. Getting there early isn't necessary and I don't believe there is any place to wait.

Here is the final list for Sunday:

babka

billy delion

bilrus

catherine

crackers

cucas87

demvtr

Escoffier

gubeen

hannah

jacques gastreaux

jlk

josephgrossberg

lydia r.

MBK

mdt

meaghan

MeMc

moodandfoodmaven

porcupine

raisab

reverrbrad

rvanrens

sacha

scotteeM

slarochelle

tweaked

ustreetguy

zoramargolis

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You all are welcome to come from 4.45pm onwards, and you could order your drinks while you mingle with the rest of the early birds. I intend to start bringing out the food around 5.30-5.45. There is a lot of food -in four services, and I want everyone to sit back and enjoy and not feel rushed.

I know we have a deadline of sorts for people who have to go watch the Iron Chefs battle it out, and I intend serving the final course around 8.00.

If you folks want, Monica and I could answer some of your questions in between the courses (I have successfully coerced my wife Sonali to come and assist in that).

And for those who had wanted to come but had some scheduling conflict we could plan another event in summers.

Sudhir

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I just got off the phone with the chef. If you have an extra stomach.. bring it!!! He tells me there will be a LOT of food.

I am really excited about this. This is the first event, I believe, of its kind here in DC and the regional dishes will surely delight folks.

Welcome and looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday

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Here is a link to the Passage to India Website. They are located at 4931 Cordell Ave. in Bethesda. I will not be able to access the Internet for the rest of the day so if you have any last minute questions or concerns please call the restaurant at 301-656-3733.

Everything but drinks are included in tonight's dinner so please bring money if you plan on purchasing anything. Otherwise, everything is taken care of so all you need to bring is a big appetite. See you in a couple of hours :)

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Thanks to all who made it last night to the Regional Foods of India dinner. I hope you all liked what was served and am eager to get any feedback to improve further on food and service alike.

For all those with dietary restrictions -- I trust that we were able to substitute items to your satisfaction inspite of the lengthy menu that my team had prepared.

Chef Sudhir Seth

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(1) Thank you very much to Sudhir, Monica, hillvalley, and the others who organized, cooked, and served. The food was top notch, and we could not have asked for a smarter, more balanced and interesting menu.

(2) Speaking of the menu, I left mine at the restaurant. Can anyone post a PDF of the menu?

(3) Finally, I looked at the Passage to India web site, and did not see the mustard-brushed fish on there. I will be a sad, sad diner if I never have that dish again.

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((3)  Finally, I looked at the Passage to India web site, and did not see the mustard-brushed fish on there.  I will be a sad, sad diner if I never have that dish again.

The dish you liked so much is under the Eastern Cuisine--

SHORSHE BATA MAACHH.

I am not tech savvy enough to create a PDF file of the menu, but can email you as an attachment.

Sudhir

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Last night was incredible. Thank you to everyone who made the extravaganza possible. I also appreciated hearing from Chef Sudhir and Monica and will definitely be returning to PTI. Hopefully I will use last night's dinner to be more adventurous in my ordering.

I pdf-ed the menu but cannot seem to upload it. I suspect the error is my own.

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The dish you liked so much is under the Eastern Cuisine--

SHORSHE BATA MAACHH.

That fish was very good but I keep thinking how good it would be if that were chicken under the mustard sauce (The kebabs from the North menu were excellent).
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Folks - I posted some pics on my site .. www.monicabhide.com. I hope people will post pics here and tell me how to do it so I can do the same!

Actually Monica why don't you just link to them there? I mean you can put them here if you wish, but let's get some traffic over to your site. You did a lot of work for this event.

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Slowly emerging from my food coma. This dinner sets the record for feeling absolutely stuffed...literally could not eat another bite...cue the wafer thin mints.

20 dishes broken into 4 regional cuisines. My favorites included the kabob 3 way, the lamb dish that was served seperately (I think it was during the 3rd region) and everything on the 4th Kerala Region, I'm a sucker for south India food, unfortunately I was way too full to eat more than a bite or two of each dish. oh and the dessert was light and delicious too.

I've eaten a bunch of India food and what struck me was how the spices were balanced to create a dish, the flavors where very smooth and well rounded. Also having 4 different regiona showcased the diversity of Indian cuisine to show that it is much more than a dollop of bland chicken curry over white rice and a piece of chewy naan that many India restaurants push.

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Many, many thanks to Chef Sudhir and Monica for what they and they were able to achieve last night in the intricacies of the tastes and directing the staff so ably. We enjoyed learning more about the different regional cuisines and how they are prepared, and while Chef was busy in the kitchen, Monica circulated throughout the evening to explain more.

Here are a few photos from each of the four "courses" - each course consisted of as many as ten or twelve different items.

From the northern, Punjabi cuisine, we sampled tandoor chicken, and this Shalgam Goat Curry with turnips and turnip greens: post-46-1147099196_thumb.jpg

From the Western, Parsi cuisine, came this lovely Patrani Marchhi, fish filet coated in a cilantro marinde, baked after being wrapped in a banana leaf. With it came (among other things) red bliss potatoes with scallion, a Dhansak rice with star anise and stone flower flavor, and a medly of three chutneys: mango, peanut and sesame: post-46-1147099328_thumb.jpg

The Eastern, Bengali region was represented by Shorshe Bata Maachh - a delicate fish filet coated in a thick fresh ground mustard sauce, as well as Kosha Mangsho - slow cooked lamb in cumin, coriander and cardamom; the Chorchori Turkari, which, even though it doesn't photograph well, is an amazing vegetable mix with Bengali spices I had never experienced before, and steamed basmati rice. With this came tomato and date chutneys. post-46-1147099729_thumb.jpg

The last course was huge (and this was after some of us had gotten up and taken a walk around the block between courses to make a little extra room). The Southern, Kerala platter had everything from a sauteed shrimp in spices and coconut flakes to brown rice "string-hoppers." I'll just post the photo - each guest received their own platter! post-46-1147099974_thumb.jpg There were also addictive roasted, salted chilies called Milagapodi that I wish I could bring home by the bagful.

The kitchen in Passage to India is small, but the flavors and graciousness were huge. Thanks again to Monica, Chef, family and staff for this wonderful introduction to the possibilities of Indian regional cooking. The experience spoiled me - I will never again be able to go to a standard Indian buffet without comparing it to our dinner last night!

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Kudos to Chef Seth and Monica. They and their spouses and the staff at Passage to India couldn't have been more welcoming, warm and attentive, a real sense of caring for us as their guests.

This was a truly ambitious menu, and having made a few Indian meals from scratch, I have a sense of how hard the staff must have worked to prep, finish and plate so many complex dishes to serve to a large group. I hope they can take the day off today to recuperate.

There was the equivalent of four respectably-sized dinners served to each person over the course of three hours - an almost overwhelming amount of food. I followed Monica's exhortation to "pace yourself" by eating only a taste or two of the rice and bread served with each course. In a couple of cases, notably the dhansak rice in the Parsi course (amazingly fragrant with cinnamon and star anise) and the lemon rice in the Kerala round, this was really hard to do because they were so delectable.

Understandably, with so many dishes there were hits and misses for me. The most successful, I thought, were the braised or stewed meats in their complex yet subtle sauces: The Punjabi Shalgam goat curry with turnip and turnip greens, Parsi murgi dhansak - chicken, vegetable and lentil stew, the Bengali kosha mangsho - lamb with cumin, coriander and cardamom. Other than the garlic-chili chutney that came with the first Punjabi course, there was surprisingly little heat until we got to the final, Kerala round. Many sweet spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and star anise, and savory spices like cumin, black cumin, fennel, fenugreek, mustard, asafoeteda. There were two or three different chutneys from each of the four regions. The garlic-chili was a standout. My other favorites were the Bengali date chutney and the Kerala ginger-tamarind chutney. The two fish dishes didn't work as well for me. The concept of the cilantro-napped filet steamed in banana leaf brought thoughts of the Yucatan, but not very much flavor, unfortunately. And it was unfortunately overcooked. As Sudhir Seth's charming wife explained to us, the fish used in India for these dishes has so much more flavor, so it is almost impossible to recreate the authentic taste. The final Kerala course was my overall favorite--I'm completely gonzo about the various textures, crispy, soupy, chewy, hot, cold and so many intense flavors of the South of India. Love that sambar and coconut shrimp. And perhaps my favorite of all Indian desserts -- ras malai -- was the irresistable conclusion.

After studying the wine list, we and our delightful tablemates, Lydia and Daryl, decided that the best choice was the Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, which was a perfect accompaniment.

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